I said that I wasn’t a fan of whitewashing the recently departed, but Bill Lee goes a few steps beyond what even I’m comfortable with:
Former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee did not soften his stance on George
Steinbrenner following the Yankees owner’s death Tuesday. “As far as
Steinbrenner’s passing? Good,” Lee said in an interview with New
Hampshire TV station WMUR. Added Lee: “Trust me, if hell freezes over,
he’ll be skating.”
Lee, who spent 10 of his 14 major league seasons with the Red Sox
and took part in a number of heated battles vs. Steinbrenner’s Yankees
in the mid-1970s, claimed that Steinbrenner tried to have him banned
from baseball. “He said I was an incompetent and I was bad for the game
of baseball,” Lee recalled. “Well, I’m not a convicted felon like
George Steinbrenner, and he’ll take that to his grave.”
I would have figured that Lee would have had a slightly more zen take about it all, but I guess not.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.